Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16 - Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Today, July 16, the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is the great feast of the Carmelite Order (officially known as the Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel).

The order began in the 12th century at the Well of Elijah on Mount Carmel (near Haifa) when hermits, following the example of Elijah, gathered together under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in order to live a life of prayer and solitude. The order eventually moved in to Western Europe and developed into the mendicant Order as it is known today.

On July 16, 1251, Our Lady of Mount Carmel is said to have appeared to St. Simon Stock (one of the early Superiors General of the Order) and gave the Scapular to him. The scapular became part of our habit and eventually became a popular devotion by the Faithful, who wear it as a reminder to follow the example and virtue of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in order to reach union with God.

The statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that is pictured above is a replica of the statue which sits, today, at the Carmelite Monastery in Haifa. Our statue was commissioned for us in the 1950's and has a prominent place in Our Lady's Chapel within the monastic Church.